Age UK Enterprises' earns Social Enterprise Mark
Published on 05 November 2010 10:00 AM
Age UK Enterprises*, the commercial services arm of charity Age UK, has joined an elite group of businesses to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark for trading in a way that is beneficial to society and the environment.
Now in its 27th year of trading, the organisation provides products and services designed to meet the needs of those in later life which already benefits over 1.1 million customers. All surplus income is paid by way of gift aid to the charity Age UK. Last year, Age UK Enterprises paid by way of gift aid income of over £21 million to Age UK and this unrestricted income was used at both a national and local level.
The Social Enterprise Mark was officially launched in February 2010 and exists to raise the profile of ethically and responsibly trading businesses. It provides recognition across industry for the contribution individuals and organisations make towards society.
Gordon Morris, Managing Director of Age UK Enterprises said: 'I am delighted that Age UK Enterprises Limited and our Trading Alliance have has been awarded the prestigious Social Enterprise Mark. It recognises our historic and continued commitment to customers, providing products that address market failure and great value with award winning customer service via our trading network, call centres and website. We are very proud to be the first national, customer facing, financial services organisation to be awarded the mark.'
He continued: 'The mark recognises the strength and depth of our UK wide network made up of 150 trading alliance members (TAMs), 280 sales offices, 600 individual TAM arrangers and 269 Personal Alarm Services and Enterprise staff. We listen to our customers, involving them in the design of our products and services to ensure we best meet the needs of those in later life. Our loyal customer base and consistently high customer satisfaction ratings evidence our ongoing success.'
Lucy Findlay champion from the Social Enterprise Mark Company advised: 'We are delighted to award the prestigious Social Enterprise Mark to Age UK Enterprises, as they are one of the longest established and largest social enterprises in the UK. It is particularly exciting to award the first financial services company the mark which will hopefully restore some of the confidence which has been lost during the recent, difficult economic climate. We hope that the Social Enterprise Mark will do for social enterprise what the Fair Trade Mark did for fair trade. Having Age UK Enterprises on board, will go some way in helping to achieve this goal as it gives them an opportunity to highlight the mark within the over 147 million customer communications distributed each year.'
Age Concern and Help the Aged joined together in April 2010 to form a single, new charity, Age UK dedicated to improving the lives of older people in the country. The commercial services arm, Age UK Enterprises, provides over 15 products and services including energy services, home and travel insurance, to over 1.1 million customers.
Age UK Enterprises joins other mark holders such the Eden Project and the Co-operative Group South & West. The Social Enterprise Mark builds off the pilot work run by RISE, the voice for south west social enterprise.
- ENDS -
* This is the trading name for Age Concern Enterprises Ltd which is part of the trading arm of Age UK.
Notes to Editors
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged. The Age UK family includes Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI. Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England, registered office address 207 -221 Pentonville Road, London N1 9UZ, company number 6825798 and registered charity number 1128267.
Age UK is inspired by the belief that it can improve the lives of people in later life. It celebrates ageing and believes it presents unprecedented opportunities and challenges at home and abroad. Age UK will challenge ageist prejudice in society, provide services that address market failures and support the public and private sectors to design age-friendly products and services. It will support people to remain in their own homes through campaigning and practical services and its Information and Advice service will offer millions of people support on a range of issues from claiming benefits to staying fit and healthy. Age UK will fund biomedical research that helps tackle the ill health and poor quality of life that are too common as people age.
Working with over 350 partners across the country, Age UK helps influence local decisions and deliver the most appropriate services. Its network of over 500 shops will act as a focal point for the local community, providing information and help with local services.
Age UK works across the globe as well as in the UK, with its international partner, Help Age International, championing older people's rights and needs and as an active member of the DEC.
Age Concern Enterprises
To fund its charitable activities, Age UK needs a constant flow of independent income. It seeks to achieve this through a balance of traditional fund raising and trading activities. its trading activities,some of which are provided through Age Concern Enterprises Limited (ACEnt) enable it to meet the needs of older people, through products specifically designed to meet these needs; quality products such as general insurance and energy Services. ACEnt incorporates: Age UK Energy, Age Concern Insurance Services and Age UK Guaranteed Funeral Plans. Log on to www.ageuk.org.uk/buy for details. Age Concern Enterprises Limited is part of the Social Enterprise Coalition; an organisation that represents a wide range of social enterprises with the overarching aim of working in partnership for the creation of effective sector products, services and knowledge-sharing networks to help stimulate and encourage growth, development and sustainability of social enterprises in England.
Age Concern Enterprises Limited scooped up the ‘Customer Care Award' at the prestigious 2010 British Insurance Awards. The judges singled out Age Concern Enterprises Limited for its exceptional customer service which is provided by Fortis Insurance Ltd (soon to be known as Ageas Insurance Limited), as well as for glowing customer testimonials with a ‘world-class' customer satisfaction score of 85 per cent, and 89 per cent of customers saying that they would recommend Age Concern Enterprises Limited /Fortis (Insurance UK).
Age Concern Enterprises Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority for insurance mediation (311438). Age Concern Enterprises Limited is registered in England and Wales No. 3156159, registered office: Astral House, 1268 London Road, London SW16 4ER. VAT Number: 710 3843 66. Age Concern Enterprises Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Age UK (registered charity No. 1128267 and registered company No. 06825798) and donates its net profits to Age UK. Age Concern Enterprises is based at 4th floor, 207 - 221, Pentonville Road, London, N1 9UZ.
Social Enterprise Mark Company
- The Social Enterprise Mark is the brand for social enterprises. The Mark will identify businesses which meet defined criteria for social enterprise, and consumers will recognise that businesses displaying the Mark are trading to benefit people and planet. Visit www.socialenterprisemark.org.uk to find out more
- The Social Enterprise Mark is supported by the Office of the Third Sector, the National Lottery through the BIG Lottery Fund and Capacity Builders.
- The most widely adopted definition of social enterprise, used by organisations such as the Social Enterprise Coalition and RISE, is from the Government's Department for Trade and Industry: 'Social enterprises are businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.' Social Enterprise: a strategy for success, 2001
- The Social Enterprise Mark Company has been set up as a Community Interest Company (CIC) Limited by shares. It is a joint venture between the Social Enterprise Coalition and RISE.
- The Social Enterprise Coalition is the UK's national body for social enterprise. As the voice for the sector, the Coalition provides a platform for showcasing the benefits of social enterprise while supporting and representing the work of its varied members, influencing national policy and promoting best practice. See the Social Enterprise website for more details.
- RISE is the voice for South West social enterprise and aims to establish a favourable environment for social enterprises to develop and flourish. RISE is supported by the South West RDA. www.rise-sw.co.uk